Threat deemed not ‘vi­able’

In­creased po­lice pres­ence ini­ti­ated for re­main­der of school year

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Mon­ica Sager msager@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com

BOYERTOWN » A threat made against the ninth-grade class at Boyertown Area High School was found to be non-cred­i­ble by po­lice and school of­fi­cials, but drew an en­hanced po­lice pres­ence to the school May 29 none­the­less.

“School ad­min­is­tra­tion, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal law en­force­ment, have thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated this is­sue. Based upon the threat as­sess­ment con­ducted by the ad­min­is­tra­tion and school re­source of­fi­cer, the com­ment made by a stu­dent was not viewed by the team and lo­cal po­lice as a vi­able/im­me­di­ate threat,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment posted on the school district web­site.

The state­ment in­di­cated that stu­dents, par­ents and staff at the school had been no­ti­fied of the in­ci­dent but sev­eral par­ents, in­clud­ing Jen Hef­fen­trager, said

the district should have let par­ents know sooner than the evening of May 28.

“Why was this in­for­ma­tion not sent out on Fri­day when it hap­pened? Why was this only re­leased af­ter bad­ger­ing the district for in­for­ma­tion? And to send a cryptic email 10 hours be­fore the start of the next school day? The cli­mate we cur­rently live in with threats to schools is not to be taken lightly, and not one in which in­for­ma­tion shouldn’t be shared in or­der for par­ents to make in­formed de­ci­sions,” she wrote in an email to The Mer­cury.

“We are aware of the threats be­ing made to Boyertown Se­nior High School,” Cole­brook­dale Town­ship Po­lice posted on the depart­ment’s Face­book page. “School of­fi­cials are also aware of the threats and there will be po­lice pres­ence at the school tomorrow. Thank you.”

“The district has re­quested in­creased po­lice pres­ence by lo­cal de­part­ments at the high school for the re­main­der of the school year,” ac­cord­ing to the district’s state­ment.

One po­lice car was parked out­side the front door of the school at around 12:30 p.m. May 29 when a re­porter vis­ited the school.

School of­fi­cials de­clined to com­ment but did say in­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent David Krem is not in the district and will not be back un­til next week.

Fox 29 TV re­ported that the stu­dent who made the threat has been ex­pelled but that could not be con­firmed at press time.

“The stu­dents have a right to know who is mak­ing threats so they can be aware of this stu­dent be­ing on cam­pus,” Hef­fen­trager wrote.

Sev­eral other call­ers said they wanted more in­for­ma­tion about the stu­dent who made the threat but school dis­tricts typ­i­cally will not com­ment on dis­ci­pline of in­di­vid­ual stu­dents.

The district web­site did re­fer vis­i­tors to safety and se­cu­rity mea­sures in place at all schools, in­clud­ing video sur­veil­lance on buses and school en­trances, school re­sources of­fi­cers, school safety drills and the district’s anti-bul­ly­ing pro­gram.

Sev­eral re­cent school board meet­ings have fea­tured dis­cus­sions and up­dates about school se­cu­rity in the wake of the shoot­ings in Park­land, Fla. in Fe­bru­ary.

“We con­tinue to work closely with lo­cal law en­force­ment to pro­vide a safe and com­fort­able learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment so that all stu­dents can suc­ceed in a chang­ing world,” read the district’s state­ment.

“While the de­tails of th­ese safety mea­sures can­not be di­vulged, par­ents/ guardians, stu­dents, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers are al­ways wel­come to at­tend school board meet­ings to keep abreast of the progress of this com­pre­hen­sive school safety ini­tia­tive,” ac­cord­ing to the district’s state­ment.

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